As the Government of Jamaica continues its efforts to spearhead the management of COVID-19 through a range of measures, the Cabinet has this week indicated that it may favourably consider limited adjustments to one of those measures – a two-week ban on all burials – which took effect on Monday.
At a special news conference following the meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, revealed that he and Ministry officials have been meeting with representatives of the final care industry, including proprietors of funeral homes, who have expressed public health and financial concerns following the announcement of the temporary ban by Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness last Sunday.
“We met on the 2nd and the 8th of March, and we have agreed to meet again before the end of this week. The exchanges have been very frank and useful. On the economic side of things, it was put to us that gravediggers and other labourers at burial sites are paid only when burials actually take place, and so they would be out of pocket during the two-week pause on burials. Consideration is therefore being given to provide grants to these persons who will be affected.”
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development also stated that an adjustment to the temporary ban on burials is being contemplated by Cabinet, with the possibility of allowing:
- The burial or cremation of bodies that are in an advanced state of decomposition.
- The burial or cremation of bodies that are not in an advanced state of decomposition, but have been recommended for immediate burial by the appropriate health authorities, and
- The burial or cremation of indigent persons who die in state care.